Participation as Principle and Tool in Social Reintegration: Young Mothers Formerly Associated with Armed Groups in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Northern Uganda

“Experience of traumatic stressors within armed groups can negatively impact social cognitions of mastery, self-efficacy, and control. This could be compounded by postreturn conditions of stigma, little access to education, and limited means of livelihood. We explore an intervention that placed girls’ participation as a central organizing principle. Based on study reports and ethnographic field work, we examine how young mothers transformed their identity and membership within communities of return through drama, songs and poetry, and engagement in social actions. Meaningful participation offers a culturally grounded intervention in which the impacts of traumatic stressors on individual functioning and the social relational world are directly targeted, resulting in a positive modification of developmental trajectories for young women and, ultimately, their children.”

Authors: Angela Veale, Susan McKay, Miranda Worthen, Michael G. Wessells.

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